Vicksburg National Military Park

One of my very favorite stops in Mississippi. My first time through here was on a road-trip with my old roommates. It was a great way to mix up the drive with some walking, running, stair climbing, and windows-down-with-the-sun-pouring-in cruising in the middle of summer! This visit however, was totally different.


On our way back from Florida in December, just days before Christmas, we took a much needed break from driving and stopped in Vicksburg. It was less green and much, much colder than the last time I came through. But the visit was just as refreshing and welcoming as it had been before, just in a different way.


We arrived just about an hour and a half before closing time, so we knew it would just be a quicker drive through the park and we would have to be a bit more picky about which stops we would take.

What I love about this park, is that it is almost inexhaustible. There are so many plaques with dates and names and events, from both the Union and Confederate advances. You could wander the park for an entire day and still not read everything.


I also love how vast and hilly it is. Both times I’ve been I have seen multiple people out on their run. And what a fantastic place to do it! Such lovely views and a great workout for incline training.


I enjoyed coming back to a place I have visited before and bringing someone to see it for the first time. Even though, about halfway through our visit my travel companion was pretty sure he had actually been there before, long ago, with family! It was fun to remember my time there before and the people that were a part of it and the season of life that came with it. It was so beneficial to ponder just how much has changed in the past (almost) 4 years since I was last there. A great time to compare and contrast and see growth and process change in ways I had not necessarily thought about. Ways I may not have thought about had I not re-visited this place.
Do you enjoy visiting places again? Have you been to Vicksburg? What was your favorite part of your visit? 

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How To: Pack for Summer Weekends Away

Happy first day of summer!! I wanted to share my go to packing essentials for summer travel. I am an avid believer in the carry-on suitcase/backpack. I am also an avid believer in not dressing like a tourist. So, when I pack, I follow two simple guidelines.

  1. Be able to mix every piece I pack and
  2. Wear things more than once

Packing List:

Shorts (I like to go for one staple denim short, because those will go with everything! But I also throw in something with some color that still goes with most or all of the tops I’m bringing.)

Jeans (I like to bring my comfiest pair that are just a little bit darker of a wash so I can dress it up if need be.)

2 tanks (For wearing in the heat, over a bathing suit, or under a cardigan/chambray for a little layering.)

1 light sweater/chambray (I have a light and loose, neutral sweater I got two years ago before my trip to Spain. It is the perfect extra layer in the summer! I also really love bringing my ultra soft chambray because it works as another shirt as well as another layer.)

2 shoes (I like to have one open toe and one closed toe option. I also make sure both are comfortable and tried and true for lot’s of walking.)

1 dress (This tends to be a preference thing. I like it because, not only is it an entire outfit in one piece of clothing, it is also so much cooler and also easy to dress up with some jewelry and that sweater or chambray. I have a few that I love for various reasons, but 100% cotton and a solid color is my usual go to.)

Jewelry (This is one of the easiest ways to mix up your look and also pull together an outfit while taking up hardly any space in that carry-on! I have a few pieces that I almost always wear (rings, studs, watch). But some statement earrings and necklace or two really go a long way for changing it up and making an outfit feel and look fresh.

Bathing Suit (Even if I’m not planning to need it, I throw it in. It’s one of those things that takes little to no space and when you need it, it’s a bummer not to have it. And for the summer, the odds are definitely higher that you will be using it. And bonus, it frees you up to go for it when the adventure opportunity arises! No excuses. No regrets.)

Cross Body Bag (I love, love, love my Fossil cross-body (and Fossil in general)! It has gone with me overseas every time and cross country many times. It fits everything I need for the whole day, with many zippered pockets and the canvas and leather strap is comfortable without compromising style. I always opt for a bag that zips completely closed to keep my things secure in the bustle at the airport, while it’s stored under the seat, and for an added discouragement for pic-pocketing. This bag is similar to what I use and f you’re interested, it’s even on sale right now! I also love this one for something a little bigger with versatile straps that still fully zips.)

Light/natural Make-Up (I keep it simple and light. That being said, I typically bring one pallet that I can use during the day, but also has something to mix it up if I need for a night out. If I plan to be outside or doing a lot of walking on my trip, I don’t like stuffy make-up face. Most important: moisturizer+SPF for my face!)

SPF (Always protect your skin!  Like I mentioned before, I bring a moisturizer+SPF for my face as well as something for my arms and legs.)

1 active set of clothes (I always bring a set of active clothes because, especially in the summer, even if I don’t have plans for something particularly active, I typically end up needing it anyway. But also, because active-wear is my go to comfort outfit for summer. That’s my “sweats” that I throw on when I get back to the hotel in the evening with my takeout. Sometimes, this can double as sleepwear too (just not after wearing it for that active day!)

What’s always in your suitcase on summer weekends away?